24 October world polio day

World Polio Day

The 24th of October every year marks the World Polio day. Polio (short for Poliomyelitis) used to be a cause of permanent Paralysis in the 20th Century.

Poliomyelitis (Polio) is caused by a virus called Poliovirus. The virus infects the Throat and the Gastrointestinal tract(guts). It causes mild illness in most instances but can cause severe illness and permanent Paralysis if it travels to and infects the brain. It is Transmitted from one person to the next Through Fecal-Oral Route ( drinking or eating Contaminated food/water), and Oral-Oral route ( contaminated Saliva).

Good News!

Polio is the thing of the past in most countries and Continents. It is Remaining only in Asia thanks to the introduction of Vaccine for Polio. Even in Asia there were only 6 cases Reported in 2021, this means that we are about to eliminate Polio for good.

It was in 1988 when the World Health Organization (WHO) together with CDC and The Gates Foundation decided to launch an initiative to eliminate Polio. An effective and cheap Vaccine was engineered and administered to people in two forms. we have Oral Polio vaccine called OPV and Inactivated Polio Vaccine(IPV). The OPV is given by mouth (not injection) in the first year of life while the IPV is given by injection.

What’s inside the vaccine?

Many people are scared of the topic about Vaccines because of the Inaccurate information that they heard. First, Vaccines are given to prepare the body to fight the actual infection when it comes. they come in Three forms; There’s one where the body is given antibodies(more like weapon) to fight the virus when it comes. Another one is when the body is given a weak virus (called live attenuated virus) so that it can form a Antibodies and fight the actual Live virus when it comes. The last one is when the body is given Dead virus called inactivated virus so the body can prepare in advance. The problem with attenuated virus is that it can mutate in the body and become strong, then cause the disease we are trying to prevent.

The OPV uses the Live attenuated virus (weakened) which sometimes mutate as explained above leading to active Polio infection. The Disease that comes as a result of Polio vaccine is called Vaccine Associated Paralytic Poliomyelitis (VDPP), it is caused by circulating Vaccine Derived Polio Virus (cVDPV). This is what causes many people to fear vaccines the most.


Introduction of Vaccines Has led to Millions of people worldwide to be safe from Permanent paralysis cause by Polio. Yes, the vaccine is not perfect but the benefits outweigh the risks.

Image: Polio associated Paralysis
Polio associated Paralysis

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